Are you using water softeners at your home? Most beginners may have this one question in their minds: “how long do water softeners last?”
The average lifespan of an excellent quality water softener is around 10 to 15 years. Although they will continue to work if you don’t change them, still you need to do proper maintenance and replacement as needed.
Whether you buy the best water softener or a low-quality one, it will wear out at some point and stop working as they need to be replaced or serviced every now and then.
When you start looking for buying a water softener, usually you do not know which ones are high quality and which are not. In order to explore more about water softeners and their working, you need to get the exact information about how long do water softeners last.
Some of you may be thinking that there is no specific answer to this question, but in fact, yes there is a formula that will give you an average life expectancy of a water softener.
Keep reading to find out how long do water softeners last, average water softener life expectancy. Before we start, you need to learn the difference between a water softener and a water softening salt.
Difference Between A Water Softener And A Water Softening Salt
A water softener is a machine that separates minerals from water thereby reducing or removing them completely by using ion-exchange technology.
On the other hand, the salt used for softening hard water is also known as water softening salt. The regular table salt you are using right now cannot soften your hard water, thus you need to buy a specific salt for this purpose.
Now that you know the difference between a water softener and water softening salt, let’s start with our main topic: how long do water softeners last?
How Long Do Water Softeners Last – Average Life Expectancy?
The typical life expectancy of most excellent quality water softeners is around 10 to 15 years. This is a general life expectancy of a water softener and will vary from one model to another depending on the quality.
It is recommended that you buy an extended warranty when buying your first water softener in order to save money in the future if something happens. Extended warranties are available at pretty reasonable prices nowadays.
If you are looking for how long do water softeners last, keep in mind that it varies and depends on several factors such as quality, price, and size. Also, make sure your water softener is installed properly by skilled technicians.
In order to have a good working life of the machine, you need to take proper care of it following all the steps from installation until replacement as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Most reputable water softener manufacturers usually offer a 2-5 year warranty depending on the quality of their products.
On average, when you buy a good quality water softener it should last around 10 to 15 years before you need to replace or repair them. Although they may work properly after some time still they are not designed to work ad infinitum.
Common Factors that Affects the Lifespan of Water Softener
After you have bought your water softener, always remember to read the manuals at least once so that you know how long do water softeners last.
Here are some factors that may affect the lifespan of your machine:
Installation Quality :
Installation quality affects the performance and working life expectancy of a water softener. If not installed properly, it may not last as long as you expected.
Water is a determining factor for the lifespan of a water softener, especially if your area has really hard water. If you have very hard water, you need to install a heavy-duty type of machine in order to save money on maintenance and electricity bills in the long term.
Type of Machine:
There are several types of water softeners such as salt-free type, demand-type, and electronic type. Electronic models usually last longer than other types due to their superior technology. However, they are also more expensive. So if you want your machine to last long enough, choose the electronic model.
Small water softeners usually last for less time than large ones due to their small capacity. Additionally, if your area does not have hard water and you choose an electronic model with a small capacity, it may not last as long as expected.
If you want to know how long do water softeners last, keep in mind that this may vary depending on the quality, price, size, and installation quality.
The best way is to buy an extended warranty if you are buying your first water softener. It’s more economical than paying for repairs or extra maintenance later on.
If you need to know how long do water softeners last, read the manuals carefully and always maintain your machine as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Water Softener Life Expectancy Formula
The rule is that the lifespan of a water softener is directly proportional to its regeneration frequency (times per day) X Average Water Hardness (in grains.)
Now let’s explain what each part means:
1- Regeneration Frequency:
This factor defines how often the softener regenerates in a day. In other words, it is the number of times that your machine works in order to regenerate itself fully before going into another cycle.
2- Average Water Hardness:
In order to find out what’s your average water hardness, you can get a water test done by a professional. Once you know your average water hardness, just divide it by the number of grains per gallon (It is 70 for example.)
So if you have an average water hardness of 100 grains and the machine regenerates 2 times per day, then it should last around 700 days or 22 months.
Of course, there are other factors such as the price, size, and installation quality. However, those two are the most important ones.
If you buy a water softener that regenerates 3 times per day and your average water hardness is 100 grains per gallon, then it should last around 300 days or 9 months only.
How Long Does Water Softener Salt Last?
The water softener uses salt to re-vitalize and the average life of the salt is around 6 months. This means that you should add some more salt on time or it can damage your machine due to overuse.
Here are a few factors that may affect the lifespan of a water softener salt:
1) The Quality of Water Softener Salt:
Salt is available in various qualities. Some are better than others, so you need to choose the best one. This will save money and time in the long term.
2) The Size of Your Tank:
If your machine has a bigger capacity, then it should automatically last longer because there is more room for extra salt that won’t be used.
3) The Price:
If you want to know how long does water softener salt lasts, then you need to buy the best quality available at a reasonable price. It may cost slightly more than lower quality ones; however, it will save you money and time in the long term as well as reduce maintenance work.
How Do You Know When Your Water Softener Needs to Be Replaced?
When the salt stays in the brine tank too long, it reduces its life expectancy. You can also observe that your water hardening device makes noise or produces less soft water. These are some signs that you need to change your machine soon.
If there is a light on your device, then read the manual carefully to find out what type of light it is.
Otherwise, if your machine becomes too noisy or produces less water, you need to change it before the warranty expires.
What can be done in order to increase the life expectancy of a water softening device?
The best way is to use only filtered water when regenerating (or flushing) your machine. Using filtered water combined with the right frequency of regeneration will increase its life expectancy.
The worst thing you can do is to use tap water or any other high-mineral type of water when regenerating your machine. This will reduce its average lifespan significantly.
If you want to know more about how long do water softeners last, then ask your dealer or read the manuals carefully.
So How Long Do Water Softeners Last?
As you have seen, the lifespan of a water softening device depends on many different factors. However, if you use filtered water while regenerating your machine and regenerate it at the right frequency, then it should last 3-5 years easily.
Just get a good quality one that suits your needs in terms of size and regeneration capacity.
The other thing you should do is to check if it has a warranty or not. The longer the warranty, the better chances you have to save some money in case something goes wrong (it rarely happens though but it can).
Regenerating your machine at the right frequency also increases its lifespan by up to 3 years which is definitely worth it.
Following all of these steps will help you get the best water softener that lasts for many years. At least this is what people say, so check it out right away!
Thanks For Reading!
Born in the Philippines, Joseph Solis Moved to Canada at age 6. He attended Simon Fraser University and received his Masters’s in Chemistry. His research domains include water filtration, water softening, and overall water treatment.